Here is another part of the wonderful interview, a part that emphasizes learning:
Interviewer: “What kinds of things do you pay attention to when you are instructing or explaining?”
Kato Sensei: “I tell everybody to try it anyway even if you don’t understand it. Results come as you practice. People do not understand when I explain it verbally. Words are a convenient took, but to show them how is more important. When it comes to teaching, people generally say, ‘This should be done like this.’ It is easier that way. However, in this way, the amount of verbal instruction tends to increase.
“For example, when I tell students how to take people down without using force, I demonstrate this to help people understand the sense of it. Then, I let people try it. Then, from that, learners take it from there, sensing what it feels like. After that, if they are willing to be stronger, I tell them to do it by themselves. There are no Aikido competitions, so instructors can’t force them to do it, can they?
“Seeing is much better than hearing hundreds of times. It is my great privilege to have had the change to see the founder doing it. I really feel that I learned Aikido from seeing it.
“I thin it is important for instructors to show how it is done and let viewers feel how great it is. When I visited Hombu dojo for the first time, I had the chance to see the founder perform Aikido. I thought, ‘This is something that will take my entire life to do.’”
This is taken from an interview done by the editor from “Aikido Tankyu” magazine. Takanari Tajiri, Ph.D. of Sofia University located in Palo Alto, CA, has translated it.
Kato Sensei’s legacy continues with Monday night classes at Sofia University dojo taught by his long-time student and friend Robert Frager Sensei, 7th dan, and at other dojos that are part of the Western Aikido Group located in the Greater Bay Area.